Sunday, December 21, 2008

0 Deceiver of the "Whole World"

An interesting bit in my reading this morning from Revelation 12 -
Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. (Rev 12:7-9, ESV)
The words bolded here are essentially literally translated in the ESV - "the one who deceives the whole world", though the word "world" here is not 'kosmos' but 'oikomene' - the inhabited world, the world of men. That distinction isn't what I'm posting here about, but rather John's use of the word "whole" in this verse. Satan is said here to be the deceiver not of part, but of the WHOLE. He is said to be the one who causes THE WHOLE WORLD to go astray.

He hasn't done that, clearly... as John demonstrates very plainly in all of his writings.

Many claim Christ's death, and the propitiation of sins obtained thereby, is given for the WHOLE WORLD - each and every human being ever to have been conceived - and this is argued quite commonly on the basis of 1 John 2:2, which says,
He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2:2, ESV)
where again John uses the same word - WHOLE. Now there are other good reasons within 1 John 2:2 itself to reject the notion of universal atonement, without reference to other Scriptures, but the comparison to Revelation 12:9 is interesting. Clearly by comparing these two verses alone, there appears the same problem - one cannot claim universality in either case, and the poor argument used to claim it in the case of 1 John 2:2 simply on the basis of the greek word underlying "whole" would never be used by those who use it if applied to the case of Rev. 12:9.



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